The earliest date for which life was present on Earth is a highly discussed issue, in which different forms of evidence have been discovered and analysed, suggesting different dates and circumstances. This involves the evidence of fossils records leaving remains of past organisms, molecular records within an organism’s genetic make-up and the geological record of the alteration of the Earth’s atmosphere. These records suggest that the earliest date of life on Earth is 3.85 billion years ago however there are uncertainties of these evidence leading to disagreements and restrictions due to modern technology.
To begin with, fossils are relics of an organism preserved in the geological record which provides physical evidence of early life. This is where dead organisms fall to the bottom of a body of water and sediment layers gradually bury it. Over millions of years, the upper layers compress the bottom layers containing the dead organism. Due to erosion and tectonic activity the fossil is later exposed. (Textbook 1) Fossils are then able to be retrieved and analysed to find its age through either relative or absolute dating. Absolute dating involves accurately measuring the amount of radioactive decay of an object which calculates the time since it was newly formed and relative dating is used to distinguish between two objects by observing without specifying the age in absolute years. (Textbook 2) A geological time scale is used where fossils are able to be categorised and mapped out into different periods, which visually shows the progression of Earth’s history. With this, we are able to observe the different evidence throughout time. However, there are difficulties in finding fossils past 3.5 billion years ago. This is where old...
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Lunar and Planetary Institute 2014, Ancient Life: Apex Chert Microfossils,
Kaplan, M 2011, Filamentous figments in the Apex Cherts,
Webb, R 2002, Stromatolites - The longest living organisms on the Earth,
BCC 2014, Tree of life,
Pearson Education 2003, The Tree of Life,
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